The instruments of Studio One. I don’t use softsynths much anymore, however I have quite a lot in the past. So let’s go over my impressions of what is included in Studio One.
Once again we’re going to use this scale, where <5 means that you’ll probably want to replace it and >5 means it’s worth using relatively frequently.
- Impact (6/10)
- Mai Tai (9.5/10)
- Mojito (3/10)
- Presence XT (8/10)
- SampleOne (2/10)
- Conclusion (7/10)
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Impact is a basic pad sampler. Kinda like an MPC interface. There are basic controls for pitch modulation, filter modulation and attack/hold/decay along with other sample-type things.
Samples can be drag&dropped directly from the browser to the pads. The midi-note assignment of each pad can be changed in the lower right by typing or using the mousewheel, which is very convenient. There’s various play modes and multiplelayers for each pad. There are 4 choke groups, which allow you to have a group of pads that can only make 1 noise at a time (think hi-hats)
The sample viewer window has offset/start that are not shown in the window, I found this very annoying. However, the zoom/scroll is relatively sample and effective. There are also prev/next buttons which allow you to cycle through other samples in the directory of the current sample, very useful.
Impact has up to 8 stereo outs, which allows for some decent mixing capabilities from a single instruments.
The filters are basic and sound ‘OK’. I can’t say that they are very inspiring.
I didn’t worry about aliasing much since you really ought to not be pitching things particularly hard when using this as the drum-sampler it intends to be.
The ‘Ueberschall Impact Drums’ sound set comes free as well. I didn’t find it useful, but it’s there and it’s a pretty decent amount of content.
Functional, simple and useful.
Mai Tai (9.5/10)
This is a monster synth for something included in a DAW. It is cpu heavy, but it is circuit modelled they say. I’ll let that slide especially considering how good it sounds.
I won’t be going through all the features but here’s the basics: 32 voices, 2 osc, multiple filter types, 2 lfos, 2 assignable envelopes, 16 slot modulation matrix, effects section and an excellent GUI.
The layout of Mai Tai is excellent. It’s easy to find what you want quickly, and the controls are all of reasonable sizes. It’s easy to look at in a dark room, or a bright room, which I find relatively uncommon for GUIs of plugins. You can hide the keyboard at the bottom (thank you!), and the mod/fx section. Great additions.
There’s no aliasing when using reasonable quality settings, however I can not see if there’s a way to have a setting automatically chosen when rendering. That would be quite useful, but it does not appear to be there.
The effects are great. The filters sound fantastic. I would like more Oscillator types though, but what’s there sounds great. User drawn LFOs with a good spline editor (or S1’s automation tools!) would be fantastic.
Overall, I would happily pay extra money for Mai Tai. Excellent sound, excellent GUI and totally free with S1 Pro.
This isn’t an awful little subtractive synth. It’s extremely basic though, and nearly every DAW comes with basically the same thing.
It’s just 1 osc, with 1 envelope and 1 filter type. Very basic.
I really doubt most folks will spend much time with Mojito unless they can’t manage another instance of Mai Tai. I’m sure it’s great for some simple sounds, but there’s already way better in S1 itself.
Presence XT (8/10)
The sampler. Every DAW needs to some with a proper, good sampler. (I’m looking at you MOTU!!!!!). Studio One does.
Presence XT is a very competent sampler that supports a wide range of sample formats and library formats. All the basics that you would expect from a decent sampler are included, and if you want to pay a bit extra you can buy the Presence XT Editor. The editor allows for most of the things you’d expect from a sampler like Kontakt or Halion for a minimal added cost.
Studio One comes with a 14gb(!!) library for Presence XT. Quite massive, and it appears that most of the sounds are quite usable.
Much like Mai Tai the GUI is excellent. It’s easy to find nearly everything you want, and there are quite a few things to play with.
The only reason I can’t give Presence XT a 10/10 is that you basically have to spend $79 to use your own samples. That makes Presence XT basically just a player. For a player though, it is quite good. With the 14gb included library, support for multiple other library formats and synth-like features I think it’s still an extremely useful addition. Drop the $79 and you are setup with a very good sampler for a fraction of the cost of its competitors.
If I was more in-the-box compositionally oriented, I feel like I would be very happy with the ability to spend $79 and have a full-featured sampler like Presence XT. The only DAW that comes close to having something like it for so little money is Logic, and nothing competes with Logic’s value anyway.
Another basic sampler. This time, not oriented towards just drums! Similar features to Impact, but with a different UI.
I do wish they would update the GUI to the look of Mai Tai/Presence, but it is competent. It has the basic necessities of a sampler.
My biggest issue with SampleOne is the pitch-shifting algorithm sounds awful. Very audible artifacts and terrible aliasing. As such, I would probably never use it. Some folks may find some very basic use for it, but I just was unable to ‘unhear’ how awful it sounded.
Check out these images to see for yourself. The first image is playing the sample with no pitch shifting. The second image is the sample shifted up a half a step. Good resamplers do not add all that noise. It’s also quite audible.
Overall, I can say that it’s OK. Without Mai Tai and the Presence XT editor, I would have put this down to a 3/10 or worse.
Mai Tai is extremely useful, but it doesn’t offer you much FM or Additive or any other fun synthy things that you may want. Presence XT as it comes is a great sample player, but you have to shell out money to turn it in to a proper sampler like Kontakt.
It definitely seems like Presonus is upping their game with the included instruments and content, so let’s hope that they add more things in Studio One 4.
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